Filming Sharks in Bimini – A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday we watched the antics of a film crew in Bimini harbor swimming around at a boat dock across from us with baited Bull Sharks in an attempt to place a “fin cam” on the back of an animal. Sadly, as they discovered, the shark site they chose …

New Shark Blog in Town? ‘Bout Bloody Time

Da Shark has discovered a new shark blog and after just two posts we have become fans.Of course that’s also after a few Kalik Beers at one of our favorite Out Island Bahamas watering holes that happens to have crackin’ Internet.And why, you might well …

Southern Stingrays Gateway Shark Diving and Conservation?

There’s a new paper from Guy Harvey’s team about Cayman Island’s hugely successful wild animals encounter, “Stingray City” and what rampant and uncontrolled commercialism of species does to feeding and movement patterns.Oh and it’s not good, in fact it…

Shark Sanctuaries: The HEPCA Enforcement Roadmap?

We just found this website and we have to say it’s a great idea and perhaps an actual solution or stop gap measure to the question of shark sanctuaries and enforcement. Welcome to the fine folks from HEPCA who have had enough of sharks being taken from…

Fiji Leading the Shark Pack – Cool Research

Has it been a decade over there in Fiji? 

Looks like it and now we have research driven data as well.

The kind of data that helps an entire industry grow, the kind of data that Fiji and the Team at BAD are so good at initializing and producing – quality work.

If you thought today’s blog post from Fiji and Da Shark was celebratory, you were correct, and congratulations are in order as well for the entire Fiji team who have fearlessly, “done their own thing,” and in doing so laid out a template for sustainable shark diving the world over.

We have long been fans of BAD and Da Shark, and no we’re really not secret investors, we just have an eye out for excellence in the shark diving community and Fiji consistently fires on all cylinders when it comes to commercial shark diving, conservation, and research.

So Kudos to all for this latest paper and another continued decade of adventures to all:

Opportunistic Visitors: Long-Term Behavioural Response of Bull Sharks to Food Provisioning in Fiji
Juerg M. Brunnschweiler, Adam Barnett

Abstract

Shark-based tourism that uses bait to reliably attract certain species to specific sites so that divers can view them is a growing industry globally, but remains a controversial issue. 

We evaluate multi-year (2004–2011) underwater visual (n = 48 individuals) and acoustic tracking data (n = 82 transmitters; array of up to 16 receivers) of bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas from a long-term shark feeding site at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve and reefs along the Beqa Channel on the southern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji.

Individual C. leucas showed varying degrees of site fidelity. 

Determined from acoustic tagging, the majority of C. leucas had site fidelity indexes greater than 0.5 for the marine reserve (including the feeding site) and neighbouring reefs. However, during the time of the day (09:00–12:00) when feeding takes place, sharks mainly had site fidelity indexes smaller than 0.5 for the feeding site, regardless of feeding or non-feeding days. 

Site fidelity indexes determined by direct diver observation of sharks at the feeding site were lower compared to such values determined by acoustic tagging.

The overall pattern for C. leucas is that, if present in the area, they are attracted to the feeding site regardless of whether feeding or non-feeding days, but they remain for longer periods of time (consecutive hours) on feeding days. The overall diel patterns in movement are for C. leucas to use the area around the feeding site in the morning before spreading out over Shark Reef throughout the day and dispersing over the entire array at night. Both focal observation and acoustic monitoring show that C. leucas intermittently leave the area for a few consecutive days throughout the year, and for longer time periods (weeks to months) at the end of the calendar year before returning to the feeding site.

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Introducing Screaming Mimi, a very unique Great White Shark at Guadalupe Island

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During our confinement at home due to the coronavirus, we are introducing you to a few of our favorite characters you might meet when you visit Guadalupe Island through a series of blogs. Today we’d like you to meet “Screaming Mimi”!

At Shark Diver, our goal is to not just take you to Guadalupe to see some Great White Sharks, we want you to get to know these awesome creatures individually. They all have different character traits and behaviors. How awesome would it be when the next time you watch shark week you can say “this is the shark that swam right next to me!”? So that you can identify the individual sharks when you come home from your trip, every one of our divers will receive a copy of our Photo ID to take home.

 We met “Screaming Mimi” a couple of years ago. When I first encountered her, I nicknamed her “Kinky”.  She has a very distinct kink in her tail. I have no idea what caused that kink, since she doesn’t have any obvious scars or signs of injury. She was named “Screaming Mimi” by someone through the “Sponsor a shark” program of the Marine Conservation Science Institute. That sponsor program is one of the ways they raise funds for the Photo ID database at Guadalupe Island.

Mimi is a very active and curious shark. When she encounters something new in the water, she exhibits a typical white shark trait. Unlike what most people think, white sharks don’t just attack when they encounter something they don’t know. They swim by close to check it out. It is actually quite funny some times. A couple of years ago, a beach towel blew overboard and started to drift down. 3 white sharks came by to investigate it. 2 of them jerked away and rapidly swam away when the towel moved a little in the current. The 3rd. one kept swimming close to it, jerking away, and getting closer again. I don’t know if it eventually bit the towel or not, as I lost sight of both the shark and the towel in the distance.

Watch the video below of Mimi checking out my GoPro camera that was attached to a long pole and handled from the boat.

You can see that they don’t just attack something they don’t know. The swim by and check things out first.

Screaming Mimi ©Tim Peterson

Mimi also likes to swim really close to the cages and makes eye contact with the divers.

Mimi is around 14′ long and not quite mature yet. It is amazing how big these sharks have to be, before they are mature and able to reproduce.

I hope we’ll see her again this year. She loves to swim around the cages, sometimes for hours. It never ceases to amaze me that we keep seeing the same individual sharks year after year. It’s not like they are resident sharks. They migrate thousands of miles each year but come right back to the same spot at Guadalupe Island.

If you want to come face to face with a great white shark and would like to learn how to identify these sharks, join us on one of our “science” expeditions. We do have some spaces open and would love to introduce you to our sharks.

Call 619.887.4275, email crew@sharkdiver.com or visit www.sharkdiver.com for more information.

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at crew@sharkdiver.com.